SBD/Issue 121/Facilities & Venues

Caught In The Rain: KeyArena Funding From State Not Likely

State Legislature Unlikely To Address KeyArena
Renovation Funding Before Adjournment
Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis said that the city's hope for KeyArena funding aid from the state Legislature "appears dead in the water," according to Johns & McGann of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. The Legislature session is scheduled to adjourn today, and Ceis said of the request for $75M in tax revenue approval: "I think Olympia is all done. There is no real pulse left in that one." Seattle developer Matt Griffin, one of four members of a prospective ownership group alongside Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, said the group "would wait now for the next move from the mayor's office." Griffin: "The city has asked us to stay calm while they look at things. We'll give them the next week to let them respond." Ceis said the mayor's office is "in the process of looking at all our options with the investor group on whether or not we can move forward absent the state's participation." Ceis, who declined to offer specifics on what options the city might pursue next, said, "I don't know, to be honest. But we haven't given up. The mayor has directed me to pull out all the stops." Ceis indicated that the city has a "strong desire to work out something while Ballmer and his three partners are still involved." The investors group has set an April 10 deadline for a solution from the mayor's office on its $150M offer to renovate KeyArena (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 3/13). A SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER editorial states, "We still hope the governor and Democratic leaders will consider a special session. ... If Olympia ignores an equitable plan, we hope that will inspire the City Council to support any reasonable proposal that might emerge" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 3/13).

TOP SECRET: In Seattle, Greg Johns reports lawyers for the city of Seattle and the Sonics' Oklahoma City ownership group "have joined in a motion requesting some documents be kept confidential in their upcoming trial." The mutual agreement "seems surprising, given that part of the city's strategy involves its ability to expose NBA financial records in relation to KeyArena's performance, as well as communication within the Oklahoma City ownership group concerning its intent to buy the Sonics" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 3/13).

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